COUNCILMEMBER KENYATTA JOHNSON WILL HOST A SERIES OF PROPERTY TAX WORKSHOPS TO HELP SECOND COUNCIL DISTRICT RESIDENTS REDUCE THEIR PROPERTY TAX BILLS

In Council News, Kenyatta Johnson, News by PHL Council

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The workshops will run September 14-24 

PHILADELPHIA, PA: Philadelphia City Councilmember Kenyatta Johnson (2nd District) will conduct several Save Our Homes property tax relief workshops throughout the Second Council District in September to get information to his 160,000 constituents about Philadelphia’s 2022 property tax assessments and ways that they can save money on their property taxes.

The free workshops will happen on:

  • Wednesday, September 14, 4 p.m. to 8 p.m., at the Grand Yesha Ballroom, 2308 Synder Avenue.
  • Wednesday, September 21, from 4 p.m. to 8 p.m. at the Francis Myers Recreation Center, 5801 Kingessessing Avenue
  • Thursday, September 22nd, from 6 p.m. to 8 p.m. at St. Monica School  (Enter through the parking lot on Porter St) 2500 S 16th Street
  • Saturday, September 24 from 12 p.m. to 4 p.m. at the Church of the Lord Jesus Christ of the Apostolic Faith, 701 South 22nd Street.

“The City’s Office of Property Assessment (OPA) issued new residential property tax assessments for Tax Year 2023, and they are going up by an average of 31% citywide,” Johnson said. “Many homeowners are now starting to receive notice of their new assessments by mail. Many are seeing large increases in the assessed value of their homes – which could mean higher property taxes next year.”

“I was the lead sponsor in City Council of the ‘Save Our Homes’ Property Tax Relief Plan,” Johnson continued. “Council approved the 7-point plan in June, to help residential property owners lower their property taxes.   I want to get as many Second District residents as possible to take advantage of all the city tax programs available to save money on their property taxes this year. I also want to make sure that they appeal their property assessments if they’re not accurate. The deadline to apply an informal appeal, known as First Level Review, is currently September 30. The deadline for a formal appeal to the Board of Revision of Taxes is October 3.”

The purpose of the Save Our Homes Property Tax Relief workshops is to provide answers to the public about the new Philadelphia Property Tax Assessments, give citizens the chance to fill out the necessary paperwork on the spot to appeal their new property tax assessment, and help Second District residents enroll in property tax relief programs on the spot including Homestead Exemption, Senior Tax Freeze, Longtime Owner-Occupant Program (LOOP), and the Owner-Occupied Real Estate Payment Agreement (OOPA).

To help the public, everyone who attends one of the workshops this month is asked to bring proof of age, address, and income with them to the event. It is also recommended that people bring their Notices of Valuation from OPA if they want to formally appeal their property tax assessment.

People will be seen on a first come, first served basis. To RSVP in advance for a workshop, email Councilmember Johnson’s office through his website phlcouncil.com/kenyattajohnson

The workshops are presented in cooperation with the Philadelphia Department of Revenue, OPA, Community Legal Services, and the Senior Law Center.

City Council approved, and Mayor Jim Kenney signed into law, Councilmember Johnson’s “Save Our Homes” property tax relief plan. The goal of the property tax relief plan is to reduce displacement, making property taxes fairer and more transparent.

The items of the Save Our Homes property tax relief plan that have been put in place are:

  • Increasing the City’s Homestead Exemption from $45,000 up to $80,000, effective for Tax Year 2023. This means $80,000 of a property’s assessed value will be exempt from property taxes. According to 2023 data from the OPA, $194,200 is the median value for Philadelphia owner-occupied homes. This change will be reflected immediately in Real Estate Tax bills for 2023.

For a Philadelphia homeowner, the increase in the Homestead Exemption to $80,000 means most homeowners will have an annual savings of about $1,119 on next year’s property taxes, up from $629 this year. Once the City of Philadelphia accepts a Homestead Exemption application, that person never has to reapply for the exemption unless their deed changes. The person receives property tax savings every year if the person continues to own and live in the property.

If you are not signed up for the Homestead Exemption, call the Revenue Department hotline at (215) 686-9200 during regular business hours for more information or to apply by telephone. The deadline to apply for a Homesteads Exemption is December 1, 2022.

  • The Senior Citizen Property Tax Freeze (Senior Tax Freeze) program allows low-income senior citizens, age 65 or older, to permanently freeze their property assessments. To be eligible at this time, a person’s income must be $33,500 per year or less for a single person or $41,500 per year or less for a married couple. With these latest changes, eligible seniors will have the chance to retroactively enroll in Senior Tax Freeze. This means that if someone is 70, but is just learning about the program and was qualified when they were 65, they can freeze their property value at the amount it was when they were 65. Accordingly, those seniors will only pay taxes on their assessment from the year they first became eligible, going as far back as 2018.

The deadline to apply for the Senior Tax Freeze Program is September 30, 2023 — but the sooner the better.  For information go to, https://www.phila.gov/media/20220601134003/Senior-Citizen-Real-Estate-Tax-Freeze-application-2023.pdf or call (215) 686-9200.

  • The Longtime Owner Occupants Program (LOOP) is a program for longtime low- and mid-income homeowners whose property assessments increase by 50 percent or more in just one year.

If your property assessment increased by 50 percent or more from 2022 to 2023, or by 75 percent over the last five years; you have lived in your home for 10 years or more; and you meet income requirements. Enrolling in LOOP means your assessment is capped for as long as you remain eligible. Council appropriated $35 million to LOOP this year. Call (215) 686-9200 or visit www.phila.gov/loop.  Apply by Sept. 30, 2023.

IMPORTANT NOTE: A person cannot enroll in both LOOP and the Homestead Exemption at the same time. A citizen can calculate which would get you a bigger discount and use whichever suits your needs best.

  • The Save Our Homes plan also expands rental assistance by allocating $30 million over two years; expands community outreach by allocating over $4 million for taxpayer awareness and assistance programs; and allocates $1 million for anti-displacement legal services for low-income Philadelphians involved in landlord-tenant disputes and other matters exacerbated by the increased assessments.

Councilmember Johnson has also sent out a letter out more than 9,000 households in the Second District who are eligible for the Homestead Exemption or for LOOP, but who are not yet enrolled in these important programs. The letter communicates how to enroll in programs to mitigate the impact of the new Philadelphia property tax assessment or steps to officially appeal a person’s new property tax assessment from OPA.

Property owners can view their 2023 assessments at https://property.phila.gov/  using their address. The Office of Property Assessment is mailing 2023 assessments now, including a First Level Review (FLR) form to be filled out if you believe your assessment is too high. OPA decides FLRs. More information on FLRs is available here: https://www.phila.gov/departments/office-of-property-assessment/property-assessments/.  You can call the OPA Hotline at 215-686-9200. The deadline to apply for that Review is September 30, 2022.

Philadelphians can also formally appeal your assessment to the Board of Revision of Taxes (Details available here: https://www.phila.gov/media/20220815121914/2023-Market-Value-Appeal-form-rev.pdf)  by October 3, 2022. This step allows you to pay your 2023 property taxes at the 2022 amount until your case is decided. Call (215) 686-4343 for more information or email [email protected]

The city has also created the new Owner-Occupied Real Estate Payment Agreement, better known as the OOPA program.  If you own and live in your home, but are struggling to pay your property taxes, you may qualify for a payment agreement. Apply for an OOPA, and you’ll pay an affordable monthly payment based on your age and a percentage of your income.  Go to https://www.phila.gov/services/payments-assistance-taxes/income-based-assistance-programs/owner-occupied-real-estate-tax-payment-agreement/ for more information.

Councilman Kenyatta Johnson, a former Pennsylvania State Representative, represents the Second Council District which includes parts of Center City, South Philadelphia, and Southwest Philadelphia.

Follow Councilmember Johnson on social media (@CouncilmemberKJ on Twitter and Instagram) for Save Our Homes property tax relief workshops updates.

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